MJF is focused on being on the top of his game and winning, a concept that was shared by the wrestling greats and should be more embraced by today’s talent.
In a recent appearance on The Wrestling Perspective Podcast, MJF talked about his influences in the wrestling business. The “Salt Of The Earth” has been open in the past about how ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper has been a huge influence on his work, but he went into more detail about some other the other legends that he’s taken cues from.
“Roddy Piper, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times—if there’s one person who I idolized growing up, made me want to be a professional wrestler, it was Roddy Piper. There’s a lot of other names, though, if I’m being honest. I love Buddy Landel’s work, especially when he was in Mid-South, I’m also a big fan of “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert with Global [Wrestling Federation]. ‘Hot Stuff’ is a guy that not a lot of people know about,” MJF said, “which is a travesty because his rivalry with Jerry Lawler is some of the best professional wrestling you will ever see.”
“I think the issue with professional wrestling now and people in my generation is now, is they grew up watching guys like [Wrestling Perspective co-host] Petey Williams instead of watching guys like the Ric Flairs and the Tully Blanchards of the world. And what’s happened now is everybody goes in there and they try to think of the best move possible. What they’re not concerned with, is winning. That’s all I’m concerned with. That’s all Roddy Piper was concerned with, that’s all Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine was concerned with, that’s all ‘Big Cat’ Ernie Ladd was concerned with,” MJF said, “and the list goes on and on. I’m a student of the game. I don’t believe anybody in my age bracket knows more about professional wrestling on this planet, and I think that’s why every single time I’m on your TV set, I maximize my minutes better than anybody else in the business today.”
MJF continued, noting that Jim Cornette might be a controversial figure these days, but he’s still got a great mind for the wrestling business. He said that Cornette taught him a lot when they worked together in MLW, and also said there are several parallels with Paul Heyman that make him an influence as well.
“I worked with Jim Cornette more than people realize when I was in Major League Wrestling, and getting to go back and forth with him—look, is he a fan of guys on my roster? Absolutely not. But if I’m being honest, neither am I. But he’s a very smart guy, understands how to manipulate an audience, I loved his work. I loved Bobby ‘the Brain’ Heenan’s work. Even Grand Wizard, he might not have necessarily been the greatest promo of all time, but the guy understood how to manipulate a crowd without speaking,” MJF explained, “There’s been so many great managers of the past—Paul Heyman obviously—we’re both Jews, we’re both very affluent and we’re both very good at speaking and we’re both from New York, so Paul Heyman also another guy who is most certainly a big influence on me.
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